Montae Bailey taking his talents to Sioux Falls

In game after game in his two-year tenure as a St. Paul Pioneers safety and kick-returner, Montae Bailey was a constant threat to break a contest open.

Whether he was weaving through hapless opponents to return kicks or interceptions for touchdowns, or shooting through the line of scrimmage to blast an opposing ball-carrier, Bailey was a game-changer who helped St. Paul win two titles in two years, including a 2009 NAFL National Championship.

Now, he is taking his talents to Sioux Falls. Bailey has been signed by Indoor Football League power Sioux Falls Storm as a defensive back and kick-returner.

“We are going to miss Double Deuce immensely,” Pioneers defensive coordinator Jim Walsh said. “But we’re extremely happy for him and the opportunity he is getting to play football for one of the best indoor teams out there.”

Bailey, a former player at North Dakota State University and Ridgewater Community College, has starred in indoor ball before. In 2006, he played for the Peoria Roughriders and in 2008, he was a member of the Cleveland Gladiators in the top-level Arena Football League. He moved on to AFL2 and earned 10 starts for the Mahoning Valley Thunder, where he led the team in interceptions and was third in tackles.

Bailey said he is hoping his opportunity in Sioux Falls will lead to more chances to play professionally, possibly in the two-year old Ultimate Football League.

“Playing for the Pioneers was a great experience and a good way for me to keep my edge after the Arena Football League folded,” Bailey said. “I appreciate everything the Pioneers did for me, for giving me a chance to play championship football.”

They were championships that may not have happened without Bailey patrolling the Pioneers secondary. Notable games in which number 22 made an especially huge impact included 2009 playoff contests in Iowa, where he scored two return touchdowns, and at Bellingham, Wash., where he had two interceptions. For performances like that in 2009, Bailey earned Honorable Mention All-America honors from Minor League Football News.

But, really, he was dangerous every snap he played.

Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser praised Bailey for his time in cardinal and black.

"I can’t say enough about what Montae has brought to the Pioneers the past two seasons,” Heiser said. “He has been a valuable leader both on and off the field and has played an instrumental role in our two championship teams. I am thrilled that Montae is getting the opportunity to play football at the professional level and wish him the best of luck with the Sioux Falls Storm this season."